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Toxic Bosses

If you are able to identify most or all of the signs discussed above at work, that means you are obviously working in a toxic workplace and/or working for a toxic boss. Sometimes, you might not spot the toxic behaviors immediately, but it is usually possible to spot the toxic boss that is going to make your working life hell and push you out of the workplace. If even the slightest things cause your boss to break out in fits of rage, your boss is not just toxic, but your working environment might even be unsafe.

Having a toxic boss could lead to your work being compromised, which could then spill over into impacting your career as a whole. If your boss points fingers at certain employees while complimenting others on performing at an equal level, he or she is toxic. If nobody values the work that you are doing, and your boss does not value what you are contributing, it is difficult to be proud of the job that you have.

Another indication you might be dealing with a toxic boss is if he or she routinely takes credit for your ideas and hard work. Another sign that you may be dealing with a toxic boss is if they are playing favorites among their employees--showing some people kudos while demeaning others, or singling out some employees for special treatment while completely neglecting others. If you are aware of a boss who has favorites on the team, it is an alarming toxic sign of a boss who puts his or her own personal biases above shared professional goals.

Constantly feeling underutilised and uncertain about what your boss expects is a telltale sign of your boss being toxic. If you have a toxic boss, you may find yourself feeling kind of want this job, but showing up for work is taking a toll on your mind. A toxic workplace may be an unfavourable environment for fostering creativity and innovation, especially if you have the boss from hell.

Bad bosses hurt companies, overall workplace environments, and they impact both your career development and your personal health. When you cannot escape a terrible boss, and need tips on how to stay happier on the job, heres how to handle it.

If your boss is the kind of person who does that, then you can take solace knowing it will only take them so far in life. Based on researchers findings, they concluded toxic bosses are unlikely to change their ways, and warned employees and corporate leaders that it is okay to give bosses a pass when they mistreat employees, but behave kindly afterward. Bosses who are reactionary over-focus things to the point that they get absorbed in the roles of others, because they are insecure about whether their employees are working quickly enough.

When this hand is the poor boss, you can recognise the types of poor bosses that you are working with, then use this information to neutralize the behavior of the boss.

No one in leadership is perfect. Leaders are flawed and as prone to mistakes as anyone else in the workplace.

However, sometimes it's bigger than that. Rather than making an occasional mistake or bad judgment call, some bosses display a pattern of bad behavior that causes widespread repercussions for employees, fellow leaders, and even customers. This is the difference between a typical boss and a toxic boss.

If you’re here reading this article, you likely suspect that one of the leaders you oversee is exhibiting the signs of a toxic boss and want to determine if you do in fact, have justified reason to be concerned or to take corrective action.

To help you get there, read through the following list of 6 signs that are commonly indicative of a toxic boss and as you do, contemplate if the leader in question is displaying more than one of those signs and what you can do to address the problem if one does exist.


  1. Increase in Unexplained or Surprising Resignations from Employees

  2. Doesn’t Coach Others or Provide Feedback

  3. Unable to Regulate Their Emotions

  4. Lacks Empathy and Emotional Intelligence

  5. Doesn’t Offer Appreciation or Praise

  6. Sets Unrealistic Expectations


One cause to suspect a toxic boss is when the people working for them begin to quit unexpectedly or en-mass. For example, a recent study of over 2,0000 employees in the UK found that more than 2 in 5 employees have left a job because of a bad or toxic boss who failed to listen, was seen as ‘unapproachable,’ treated members of the team differently, or yelled at the team. This is to say that if you have seen a recent uptick in questionable resignations, it’s important to dive deeper into the potential reasons why, such as leadership.


Despite the fact that today’s workforce craves in-the-moment coaching and constructive feedback, some toxic bosses will neglect or refuse this crucial part of the leadership role. Not only does this create a culture of fear and anxiety regarding one’s performance, but it can also crush an employee’s empowerment and motivation, as well as stagnate their learning and growth.


Employees shouldn’t feel as though they are walking on eggshells around their boss, worried about whether they will be warm one day and then spiteful or angry the next. But, unfortunately, if a leader cannot regulate their emotions, this is the experience that employees of that person will have to endure day-in and day-out.


According to research conducted by psychologists, “high-power individuals (ex. leaders) tend to be less sensitive to the emotions of others, less willing to consider others’ perspectives, and less able to accurately infer others’ emotions.” This is concerning, given that emotional intelligence and empathy in leadership are linked to increased innovation, retention, inclusion, and engagement.


When an employee works overtime, does their boss express their appreciation? When the team achieves a significant milestone, is that success celebrated by their boss? Does the leader say, “Good job, team?” You might be dealing with a toxic boss if the answer is no.

At this point, ask yourself whether or not that leader withholds praise and appreciation intentionally. In this case, that is a far more nefarious and concerning situation than a leader who is unintentionally doing so because they aren’t comfortable expressing gratitude in the workplace but could learn to do so.


A tell-tale sign of a toxic boss is someone who sets unrealistic expectations for their employees. Whether they expect their employee to meet an impossibly high standard or unreasonable deadline, you’ll notice something is amiss when employees begin to burn out, disengage, and even leave the company.

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